Civil Services Study Plan - UPSC Mains Questions

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Civil Services Study Plan - UPSC 2018

How To Do the Correct Interpretation of UPSC Mains Questions

How To Do the Correct Interpretation of UPSC Mains Questions

We have got so many mail asking about the question ask in UPSC mains so we have decided to give you the clear picture about the questions. How they ask and what exactly they want from the questions . Some times you know the answer  but due to wrong interpretation of the questions you give wrong answer . So here we came up with this article so the you understand the meaning of the question .

1. Explain

  • You have to give detailed information of the topic like you need to answer what,why,where,how etc. You have to present all important points with justification.

2. Enumerate

  • You have to present all necessary points and need to give explanation one by one for each points.

3. Elucidate

  • It refers to making statement plain. In fact you have to explain it in such a way that it becomes intelligible

4. Reason

  • You have to find out the best reason for the given topic one by one.

5. Describe

  • You are supposed to write about various aspects of the given statement and also you have to presents both negative and positive points of your arguments.

6. Evaluate

  • You have to check the validity of the statement on the basis of evidences,data etc and at the end you have to give sound judgement .

7. Elaborate

  • You need to give detailed information in well organised way.

8. Formulate

  • You need to express the topic in well organised and systematic way.

9. Consider

  • You have to form an opinion after careful examination.

10. Justify

  • You have to prove the validity of the statement.

11. Outline

  • Fairly straightforward,needs an orderly,logical presentation of information.

12. Illustrate

  • It refers to explaining or making clear by giving examples.

13. Amplify

  • It refers to elaborating the statement. You add details,make it fuller.

14. Examine

  • It demands you to investigate the topic deeply and bring to light to various aspects of the given topic. It refers to inspecting something closely and bringing out facts.

15. Critically Examine

  • If you find the word critically examine anywhere in question then you have to look at goods or bads of the given topic and at last you have to present sound judgement.

16. Comment

  • It is opinion based question. You have to give your opinion and you also have to justify it(Give some evidences, arguments, data to justify you answer).

17. Critically comment

  • This type of questions are opinion based. You need to give your opinion on important points and at the end you have to give fair judgement.

18. What do you understand by this?

  • You have to write simply the various aspects of the given statements like definition,goods,bads etc

19. Give argument in favour of

  • You have to write in support of and against a statement and have to give reason to support your argument.

20. Highlight the salient features

  • You have to write the most important point related to topic.

21. List out the salient features

  • It’s straightforward question you simply need to write various important points related to given statement in the question

22. Give your judgement in favour of something

  • You have to form an opinion or give you decision after careful consideration. You have to give you sound decision .

23. Investigate

  • You have to examine the topic in well systematic way and need to find out the different aspects of the question like you have to find out motive, causes, some facts.

24. Assess

  • It demands examination and evaluation of the given topic.

25. Critically Assess

  • You have to analyse and Judge the topic in detailed manner along with it you have to give your comments and opinions.

26. Analyse

  • You have to take various facts or parts of a given statement in consideration bringing sunshine to it’s nature or structure.
  • You have to examine each part of the problem, have to tell its future implications, good or bad.

27. Critically analyse

  • Analyse the nature of each part and interrelate them and at the end you have to give fair judgement.

28. Distinguish

  • You have to give direct comparison between the topic and others.

29. Differentiate

  • Same as distinguish but you have to present detailed comparison with other.

30. Discuss

  • You are supposed to write about various aspects of the given statement and also you have to presents both negative and positive points of your arguments.

Also Read-

More Details Analysis-

Evaluate ::

  • Questions asking you to evaluate some issue expect you to judge the significance and worth of the topic under some criterion. Thus, merely writing the factual statements would not help in such questions. While, it might be necessary to provide some factual evidence for your arguments, it is more important in such questions to judge the worth of the concept, being discussed, as per the given context.
EXAMPLES- Evaluate the Participation of India in the IMF?


  • Now, this question does not ask you to write merely about India’s participation in the IMF and various agreements or developments. But, it asks you to write how is India’s participation in the IMF justified. Thus, you cannot fetch good marks merely by giving the details about the Indian participation. You should provide rational reasons regarding the effectiveness and worth of it.

:: Examine ::

  • These questions are much like the evaluate-type of question, but it requires the candidate to write the different shades of the topic. It requires the candidate to inquire into the topic and make an evaluation from the candidate's perspective.
EXAMPLES- Examine the role of women in the Indian national movement?


  • This question, expects the candidate to evaluate the different dimensions of the topic, and decide for the aptness of the question. Thus, you should touch the various aspects of the question and provide why and how does it justify itself. thus, for this question you should give the instances of how women participated in the indian national movement, and explain why was it significant.

:: Analyze ::

  • These questions require the candidate to analyze the topic being asked, with other similar concepts and draw out the characteristic features and qualities, while also highlighting the positive and negative points of the topic.
EXAMPLES- Analyze the role of Panchayats in the empowerment of the poor and marginalized.


  • To analyze a topic, you should bring out the points both- in favor and against the given argument. Further, you should explain your view, as to how it can be proved with the given evidence. For this question, you should discuss how the panchayats have helped the poor and marginalized section, and what are the various challenges and obstacles for their empowerment under the present framework. Then, at the bend of the answer, you should also conclude your argument by a side.

:: Critically Discuss ::

  • Questions with the tag of 'critically discuss' are broad-based questions which expects the candidate to write about the topic from his own perspective. In addition, it requires the candidate to bring out the points of criticism regarding the concept.
EXAMPLES- Critically Discuss the developments in the Education sector in India.


  • For this question, while the first thing a candidate should write is the contemporary situation in the field of education in india, and then move towards the criticism part. It is important to note that for such questions the candidate should also put his own perspective and views. Thus, while highlighting the achievement in the education sector, you should also give the shortcomings and loopholes of the education policy in india.

:: Outline ::

  • The questions that asks you to outline about the issue, requires you to draw a framework about the topic, with different details and constituents. Such an essay is a descriptive essay containing more facts and less analysis.
EXAMPLES- Give an Outline of the System of Economic Planning in India.


  • For this question, you should give a detailed sketch of the evolution of the system of economic planning in india. You may advance in a historical chronology or according to the various planning frameworks. However, it is beneficial if you also provide an evaluation of the topic, in the latter section of the essay.
Hope This Article will help you in you UPSC main Examination.